Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing two priceless conversations. The first one went something like this:
Dylan: “Riley, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Riley: “A firefighter!”
Dylan: “Riley, you don’t want to be a fire fighter. If you’re a fire fighter, you have to go in fire, and if you go in fire you will get burned and you will get hurt.”
Riley: “Well…(long pause)…but…(long pause)…I’ll wear my seatbelt.”
That one happened in the car on the way to the mall. I wrote it down immediately because I want to remember it forever. I needed to return a belt at Macy’s and both boys insisted on coming with me. This was not a mission on which I would typically encourage them to join me, but I was headed to the theater in the afternoon to see “Billy Elliot,” and I figured Mike would appreciate an hour to himself before I left him alone with the kids for the rest of the day. Also, I knew the boys would love going up and down the “escavator” (escalator) at the mall. (They did.)
The second conversation I heard was at the theater later that afternoon between Billy and the unnamed person interviewing him as part of his audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. During the exchange onstage, Billy was asked, “What does it feel like when you’re dancing?” His response was:
I can’t really explain it, I haven’t got the words
It’s a feeling that you can’t control
I suppose it’s like forgetting, losing who you are
And at the same time something makes you whole
As a (former) dancer, this response was perfection. It described the indescribable sensation of dancing better than I’d ever heard before. As I sat in the dark theater – nostalgic about my own experience as a dancer many years ago – it also occurred to me that it sounded a lot like what it feels like to be a mother.
That day had been a
good great mommy day for me, and it wasn’t just because I spent the afternoon and early evening at the theater without my kids. Even though the day started at 6:15 a.m. (thank you, Riley), there was no guilt, no yelling, no time-outs, no pee or poop accidents, no fights over food, and no desire to not come home from the theater (pardon the double negative). On the contrary, we survived – and enjoyed ourselves – at Costco, the mall and the “escavator” earlier in the day, and by the time the show was over and the post-theater drinks and dinner were consumed, I couldn’t wait to get home and quiz Dylan and Riley about every minute of their day that I missed. I couldn’t wait to feel whole again.
I’m a Grateful Mama that I overheard my boys talk about their dreams as only three- and five-year-old brothers are capable of doing, that I had the chance to watch an inspirational story unfold about another little boy realizing his dream of being a dancer, and that I had the priceless opportunity to see how my own dreams, past (dance) and present (motherhood), made me feel the same – “…like forgetting, losing who you are, and at the same time something makes you whole.”